News ID: 238246
Published: 1214 GMT February 01, 2019

Tous, cultural marvel in northeast Iran

Tous, cultural marvel in northeast Iran
Tomb of Persian poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi in Tous, Khorasan Razavi Province.

Tous, also spelled as Tos or Toos, is a historical city located near the northwestern Iranian city of Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province. In October 1996, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) registered Tous City on the National Heritage List.

The cultural setting of Tous includes monuments, each serving as a reminder of the great men in Iran’s history who played significant roles in the cultural development of the country, wrote.

Many travelers have written about Tous City in both historical references and books, but we are here to explore the most prominent edifices that shape the cultural background of the city.

Tous is the burial place of Abolqasem Ferdowsi, an Iranian poet well-known for composing national epic poems. Through relentless effort, Ferdowsi had an unparalleled role in protecting the Persian language.

Hakim-e Sokhan (the philosopher of speech), Hakim-e Tous (the philosopher of Tous) and Ostad-e Sokhan (the master of speech) are among the nicknames attributed to Ferdowsi.

At a time when the language of knowledge and literature in Iran was Arabic, Ferdowsi succeeded in revitalizing Iranian literature and culture by composing Shahnameh, a Persian epic.

Ferdowsi wrote this book in Persian defying Arab occupiers of Iran who prohibited writing and composing anything in Persian. They had gone even further by preventing the publication of anything in Persian in Iran.

It is worth mentioning that Ferdowsi spent all his financial resources for thirty years to compile epic stories of Iran in order to express part of Iran’s history. Eventually, when he died, he had to be buried in the only small piece of land left for him.

During his life, he faced many obstacles, but he consistently pursued his purpose and achieved his goal successfully. If Ferdowsi was not born, maybe today Iranian people would have spoken a language other than Persian. Perhaps this language might have been Arabic, Turkish or another language.

The current design of the Tomb of Ferdowsi is an artwork by Hossein Lorzadeh, an Iranian architect. He built the tomb in 18 months and received the Medal of Ferdowsi Award at the Millennium Celebration to commemorate this great Persian poet.

The tomb occupies an area of 900 square meters and architects have restored and renovated it several times. In 1969, an engineer, Houshang Seyhoun came up with an alternative plan for the tomb to expand it to include the surrounding garden and nearby museum. This expansion contributed significantly to the cultural backdrop of Tous.

The garden of the tomb is about six hectares and has a museum and a library. The tomb itself has three sections, the most important of which is the middle section. In this section, there is a marble tombstone, located on a marble platform, measures 1×1.5 meter and the height is about 0.5 meter.

The other part of the Tomb of Ferdowsi is a square marble hall. Architects have decorated the interior with Iranian tiles. There are also four tall columns with two large capitals in four corners of the hall. The third section is a staircase made of pure marble. The stairway leads to a chamber where one can find many of Ferdowsi’s poems inscribed on the wall.

The architecture of the Tomb of Ferdowsi reminds us of the architecture of Pasargadae and the Tomb of Cyrus. The illustration of a winged man on the southern side of the main building of the Tomb of Ferdowsi reminds us of the architectural features of Persepolis, the ceremonial palace compound of the Achaemenid Empire.

Initially, the upper part of the tomb was solid construction, but during renovations, the architects decided to make it hollow. Mosaic tiles and decorative elements of the Achaemenid period and Ferdowsi era decorate the ceiling of the building. In addition, there are the local rocks from Tous area decorating the walls of the tomb.

Dating back to the 14th and 15th century, the Haruniyeh Dome is another edifice depicting the cultural landscape of Tous. The building is located twenty kilometers northwest of Mashhad City and at the entrance to Tous. Haruniyeh Dome is brick-made structure in a square shape.

The interior spaces of this monument consist of an entrance to eyvan, four shah-neshin sections, a dome chamber, and three subsidiary rooms. All are open to tourists. There is also a small memorial stone for Abu Mohammad al-Ghazali in the outer area of the Haruniyeh Dome.

On the other hand, there is also a large rectangular garden designed and built in front of the eyvan. We can also find this garden in the original plan. Regarding the function of this building, some people are of the view that it serves as a monastery and the place where al-Ghazali taught his disciples, before the Mongol invasion of Iran. In addition, some people call this building Haroon Al Rashid Prison after the fifth Abbasid caliph.

In terms of structure, size, the diameter of foundations, standing power on the floor and the dome, it has a special value in architecture.

The citadel and the ancient walls of Tous are famous as the central citadel or ancient castle of the city. This building is part of the Tous cultural landscape located in the highest part of the city, at the northwest. At some point, this building used to be the administrative center of the government in the ancient city of Tous.

Three protecting walls and a moat surround the ancient citadel of Tous.


Here we introduce three city walls:

The first wall: There used to be a solid wall in the outer part of the moat. There is a barely visible line of a short wall remains there.

The second wall (internal wall): It is made of standard sun-dried bricks of that time with a dimension of 23×23×5cm. The second wall has two gates in the west and southwest, and eight towers in the corners and the sides of the gates, made of sun-dried bricks and cob.

The third wall (the main wall of the castle): It was made of sun-dried bricks with two entrances in the west and north. In addition, it has had four towers in the corners and two more towers on either side of the entrances.

Between the second and third walls, there are some ruins of collapsed buildings.

Kashafrud is a river in Khorasan Razavi Province in the northeast of Iran that used to run to the north of Mashhad City. Kashafrud has a rich historical value because it used to be an important trading route linking Merv, India and China to Mesopotamia.

Archeologists have discovered historical remnants in Kashafrud banks, dating back to some 200,000 years ago. Most of the unearthed artifacts are handmade stone objects for daily use.

The large number of various developments at Kashafrud has made a prominent city out of Tous. Even before the advent of Islam, the banks of the river, due to its good climatic conditions, were some of the most interesting areas for settling in Khorasan Province.

At the end of the Tous Museum, there is a small tombstone belonging to a great Iranian poet of Khorasan Province, Mehdi Akhavan-Saales. Many writers regard Akhavan-Saales as the contemporary Ferdowsi of Iran.

As a matter of fact, the inscription on his tombstone explains the story of his life. The Tous of today owes its cultural landscape to the poems of Akhavan-Saales.

His poems are of social them and, in some cases, describe the people’s living conditions. In terms of literary style, Akhavan-Saales followed the epic style combined with strong Khorasani poetry style.


Why should you visit Tous


Tous is a historical and cultural symbol of the eastern part of Iran and ancient Khorasan. Many Iranian scholars have played important roles in the scientific growth of Tous including Jabir ibn Hayyan, Muhammad ibn Aslam al-Tousi, Abolqasem Ferdowsi, Shaykh Tousi, and Nasir al-Din al-Tousi. Today, we know the cultural landscape of Tous by its historical monuments and cultural glories.

Hence, it isn’t possible to ignore the role of Tous as the cultural and historical center of Khorasan. In fact, you can get an overview of the culture, art, customs, and traditions of people of Tous by visiting this city and its historical monuments.

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